Video Resource: Mock Trial on the application of universal jurisdiction for international crimes in Kenyan courts

kotarski Judicial Capacity Building

On Friday, 8 March 2024, the Wayamo Foundation and Kenya’s Prosecution Training Institute held a one-day mock trial based on a fictional set of circumstances, designed to test the application of universal jurisdiction for international crimes in Kenyan courts. The mock case examined the provisions of the International Crimes Act No.16 of 2008 and explored its applicability to situations where neither the perpetrator nor victims had Kenyan nationality, and the alleged crimes were not committed on Kenyan territory. Wayamo is proud to present the mock trial in full, delivering a practical and engaging way for legal practitioners in Kenya and internationally to understand the challenges and opportunities in the application of international crimes provisions domestically, thereby making complex legal principles more accessible.

The mock trial brought together preeminent international and Kenyan judges and prosecutors who guided the audience through some of the thornier issues facing lawyers seeking to apply international law domestically. The aim was to make the International Crimes Act more accessible and actionable for the Kenyan legal practitioners in the audience. 

The mock trial featured contributions from:

  • Lady Justice Diana Mochache, Judge, High Court of Kenya
  • Ben Gumpert, KC, Crown Court Judge and former barrister; former Senior Trial Lawyer at the International Criminal Court
  • Alexander Jami Yamina, Ag. Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
  • James Stewart, former Deputy Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court
  • Tabitha Ouya, Head of Civil Rights Division, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
  • Victor Owiti, Principal Prosecution Counsel, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
  • Kirsty Sutherland, barrister at 9 Bedford Row, acted as defence counsel in several international courts and tribunals

The key issues addressed include the application of universal jurisdiction within domestic jurisdictions, jurisdictional challenges to this application, the definition and scope of crimes against humanity, and the admissibility of open-source and digital evidence.

Legal practitioners and academic audiences can use this resource to gain insights into the practical application of international law within Kenya’s legal system, enhancing their ability to prosecute and adjudicate international crimes.

Viewers who seek to understand the practical applications of international criminal law within domestic legal systems can access further information on these topics online, including through Wayamo’s official website, our Sudan online justice hub, Wayamo’s extensive video library and our reports and published materials.

The mock trial was held in the context of Wayamo’s ongoing project “Capacity building for civil society and the justice sector in Sudan” project, with the financial support of the German Federal Foreign Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. The Project is set in the wider context of providing training in international criminal law, international humanitarian law and human rights to civil society and legal actors both in Sudan and the East African region, aimed at building a coalition committed to addressing impunity through regional and domestic accountability measures, such as national court systems.